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Table 2.

Criteriaa and ratingsb for designating sea ice as an ecologically or biologically significant area (ESBA) with links to associated ecosystem services.c DOI: https://doi.org/10.1525/elementa.2021.00007.t2

Criteria and DescriptionRatingLink to Ecosystem Service
Uniqueness or rarity high Habitat/supporting, cultural 
Special importance for life-history stages of species high Habitat/supporting, provisioning 
Importance for threatened, endangered, or declining species and/or habitat high Habitat/supporting, cultural 
Vulnerability, fragility, sensitivity, or slow recovery high Habitat/supporting, cultural, regulating 
Biological productivity mediumd Habitat/supporting, provisioning, regulating 
Biological diversity highe Provisioning, regulating 
Naturalness high Cultural 
Criteria and DescriptionRatingLink to Ecosystem Service
Uniqueness or rarity high Habitat/supporting, cultural 
Special importance for life-history stages of species high Habitat/supporting, provisioning 
Importance for threatened, endangered, or declining species and/or habitat high Habitat/supporting, cultural 
Vulnerability, fragility, sensitivity, or slow recovery high Habitat/supporting, cultural, regulating 
Biological productivity mediumd Habitat/supporting, provisioning, regulating 
Biological diversity highe Provisioning, regulating 
Naturalness high Cultural 

a Following CBD (2008).

b The EBSA designation process usually follows a Delphi approach which consists of structured interactive discussions and estimates by a panel of subject matter experts. Here, the authors constitute subject matter experts, and rating is based on the outcomes of discussions among the authors; however, the table does not reflect results of a structured Delphi approach.

c For details and justification, see Table S1.

d A medium rating has been applied based on comparatively lower productivity in the sympagic system versus the pelagic system. However, given the highly concentrated productivity in sea ice, a high rating might also be defensible.

e A high rating has been applied despite a comparatively lower biodiversity in the sympagic system versus the pelagic system, as the unique biodiversity in sea ice suggests that species lost with sea ice might be lost on a global scale and hence decrease global biodiversity.

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